Weekly Grub: Cooking Food on Your Car’s Engine

Cooking food on a stove is overrated. Between filling fuel canisters, lighting the stove, and accidentally creating fireballs that burn all the hair off your hands — it’s just too involved. Plus, you then have to sit around camp waiting for your food to cook when it all could have been done as you were driving to your crag. Cooking while driving maximizes time spent climbing, more money in your pocket for gas (no need for fuel canisters or propane) and more hair on your hands.

Here’s what you need:

  • A lot of tin foil (like enough that you could make a really cool hat out of)
  • A car (preferably one that runs)
  • Whatever weird food you like to eat when camping
  • Manifold Destiny by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller (for when you get bored of burritos, their book offers many recipes and includes approximate driving distances for a fully cooked meal)

What you want to do first is find out where the car engine is giving off the most heat, this is easiest to do after you’ve been driving around for a bit, so the next time you head on a booze run, grab a beer and pop open the hood after you get home and find a safe hot spot to put your grub. Also pick a spot so your food won’t make a mess of your car’s engine leak into its sensitive parts…i.e. near brake lines and other important areas like that.

Then, decide what you want to eat. Burritos are easiest to wrap and won’t usually kill you if they aren’t fully cooked, plus they also cook relatively quickly. Tripple wrap that baby and then fit it snugly into the hot spot you found. Now you’re going to need to go drive around for a bit. Depending on what you’re cooking it could be anywhere from ten minutes for smaller burrito-esque foods to forty minutes for a nice italian sausage. Either way you’re also going to want to check your food once or twice to make sure that it hasn’t shifted during flight, especially if this is your first time using your engine as a George Foreman.

Once you have decided that your food is appropriately cooked, it’s time to enjoy! Throw on the guac and salsa you obviously brought with you, and chow down.

note: Cooking food via car engine is most efficiently used to cook your food as you’re driving toward your destination thus reducing time you have to wait around a stove and increasing the time you have to sit around the fire getting shwasty. But if you’re bored during the week, or have a long lunch break, nothing tastes better than an engine cooked meal.

Easy food to cook:

  • Frozen burritos
  • Hot dogs
  • Reheating leftovers
  • Poptarts!

Hard food to cook (usually requires a longer drive)

  • Rosemary pork tenderloin with dijon mustard, white wine and red onions
  • Italian sausage
  • Stuffed eggplant